The Ducks needed this one badly, and they responded with the kind of “desperation” Randy Carlyle called for on the heels of a three-game losing streak.
The beleaguered Vancouver Canucks offense helped accommodate the Ducks, too.
The squad rests near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, and they entered Wednesday’s contest at Honda Center reeling from a four-game losing streak.
Brandon Montour scored twice to snap a 49-game goal drought and the Ducks handed the Canucks their third consecutive shutout defeat with a 3-0 performance before 16,561.
His first marker came about 21/2 minutes in to jumpstart the Ducks’ offense after so many games recently where they fell behind early.
The 23-year-old blueliner dished the puck to Jason Chimera, then streaked over to the net to complete the give-and-go with a flip of the puck past Jacob Markstrom.
It was a vital goal. After all, the Ducks have lost just four times in regulation this season when scoring first (25 wins).
“[Scoring first] makes a difference, it was definitely huge for us,” said Montour, who is approaching the 30-point plateau with eight goals and 20 assists.
“As a team, you don’t want to go down really early. … Getting one right off the top there was nice.”
The backend was shorthanded for a while after Hampus Lindholm was struck in the mouth by a puck in the second period, a Canucks shot deflected off his own stick.
But the Swede was back out there in the third period, a bag of ice applied to his face while he sat in the penalty box for a cross-checking infraction.
The Ducks committed just two penalties all game, heeding Ryan Getzlaf’s postgame request on Monday to cut down on “mental mistakes.”
They were flat in the loss to the St. Louis Blues, their effort questioned by Corey Perry, but that wasn’t the case Wednesday.
The checking line comprised of Ryan Kesler, Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg was buzzing, and their aggressive forecheck helped the club create 13 scoring chances in the second frame after just two in the opening period.
And finally, as Carlyle called on contributions from a unit not featuring Rickard Rakell, Perry and Getzlaf, it was the fourth line on the ice for the team’s first two goals.
Chris Kelly delivered a hit in the corner and then found Chimera in the face-off circle for the one-timer that sailed over Markstrom’s right shoulder almost 14 minutes into the second.
“They are veteran guys that understand their role and the situation they are in here,” said Carlyle. “They put pressure on the puck and weren’t a liability defensively.
“That’s the key, that they can play 200 feet away from their net more often than they play closer to the net and that’s always a plus for a fourth line.”
He’s been fantastic most of the season, but John Gibson allowed four goals in each of his last two contests. On Wednesday, he was again a rock in net: He swatted away all 32 shots to record his third shutout of the season.
The Ducks shouldn’t be too excited considering their foe, but with just 11 games remaining, they need every point they can garner as they sit just outside the playoffs.